French rider Remi Bizouard won the UEM Freestyle MX European Championship tonight in Hamburg, Germany, edging out Czech rider Libor Podmol and Spanish rider Jose Miralles by one point after collecting 45 total points in the three-stop series and despite a disappointing fifth place finish at today's event.
"I was not really riding good today so I'm not happy about that, but it's all about the points, what can I say?," says Bizouard. "It feels good, but I feel like I didn't deserve it. The level at these events has gotten really high to where now you can see 360s, underflips, tsunami flips... all kinds of flip variations and a lot of style. It can be humbling, but it's good to be here with all the guys and to compete with them."
Bizouard had finished second behind French rider Brice Izzo at each of the first two stops in the UEM competition, both in Linz, Austria in January, but an injury in February kept Izzo from finishing the series. Izzo finished the series with 40 points total for third place. He was in the house tonight, this time as a judge, and says he hopes to be riding again by July. That left Podmol and Mirales tied for second overall with 44 points each.
Today was Australian rider Josh Sheehan's turn to shine: He beat out French rider David Rinaldo and Podmol, topping the podium in front of a capacity crowd at the O2 World Hamburg Arena. The event, presented by the International Freestyle Motocross Federation (IFMXF) as part of the international Night of the Jumps series, was live webcast at IFMXF.com and NightOfTheJumps.com.
"Lots of mates were watching the live webcast back home and it's awesome to have this support, to have people all around the world watching," says Sheehan. "To be honest I think this has to have been the loudest crowd I've ever ridden in front of. It was a pretty full-on crowd and I had no idea how much they love FMX over here in Europe. I was trying to relax a bit and then I heard the crowd roar and knew I had to bring something great."
Sheehan's winning run included a huge whip to start things off, a no-handed flip, a one-handed Hart attack, a seatgrab flip, a la-Z-boy flip, and a double knack Indy, finishing off with a crowd-pleasing ruler flip. After missing the first two events in the UEM series in January the 20 points he collected today put him in ninth place overall in the series.
"I'd been watching these IFMXF events and keeping an eye on these European guys before I came over, and the whole bunch of them have been riding really well," Sheehan says. "I knew it would be tough to come over here and crack the podium, so I'm super stoked to be on top today."